More than a walk in the park: These 5 Hattiesburg-area parks offer other options, too.
With the weather cooling as Hattiesburg eases into fall, residents are heading outside to take advantage of the city and surrounding area's numerous parks for some outdoor recreation.
With so many parks to choose from, here are some top picks and hidden gems featuring disc golf courses, sports fields, scenic views and more.
Kamper Park, 107 S. 17th Ave., Hattiesburg, is home to the Hattiesburg Zoo, tennis courts, baseball fields and a walking and exercise area.
This park features four covered pavilions, playgrounds and picnic areas. Kamper Park is open dawn to dusk.
Dawn Welch's 14-year-old son Khai plays baseball for Sacred Heart. The team was out on the fields at Kamper Park recently. Khai said the fields are fun to play on.
"I like that it's well-situated," Dawn Welch added. "The amenities seem nice."
Town Square Park
Town Square Park, located at 100 Main St., Hattiesburg, is a large park in the downtown area. It hosts events including Live at Five, Summer Tunes, the Farmer’s Market and more.
It also features an outdoor stage, art and sculptures and a scenic view of Gordons Creek.
Jennifer Shaidnagle, mother of a toddler, said she enjoys going to Town Square Park with her son when the weather is nice.
Duncan Lake is located at the intersection of South Tipton Street and James Street in Hattiesburg.
The 17-acre lake is stocked with bass, bream and catfish. It offers a scenic nature trail, ducks and geese to feed and recreation on the lake. Duncan Lake is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Cyclists, walkers and joggers in the East Jerusalem neighborhood have easy access to Duncan Lake, thanks to a trail extension paid for by the Your Penny at Work Project.
This project, completed in May, included a concrete pathway, which extended the walking trail to cover the back side of the lake out to Alcorn Avenue. It also included an archway from the Alcorn Avenue entrance and is Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible.
Tatum Park, 101 Parkway Blvd., Hattiesburg, offers soccer fields, a disc golf course, which features 18 holes, and walking trails. It is one of the largest youth sports complex fields in South Mississippi.
Joseph "Papa" Fala led Sacred Heart students on the junior varsity and varsity girls soccer teams through practice at Tatum Park recently.
Fala said Tatum Park is good for practicing because it offers grass over turf.
"I think everybody knows right here these are probably the best fields in the state," Fala said. "They maintain it very well, and when it rains a lot they come and shut it down."
Fala said the fields have to be closed when it is wet in order to protect and maintain them.
Petal River Park
The easily missed Petal River Park offers miles of nature trails for walking and mountain biking. This 80-acre park runs along the Leaf River. The trail cuts through a gum lagoon and around three ponds.
The park also has picnic tables and is open dawn to dusk.
Lucas Carlson and dog Bigby were enjoy a walk through Petal River Park recently.
"Well, it is a good place to go with your dog, as well as I study turtles," Carlson said. "So I like to come around here to see if there's any turtles in the river over there and the trails back there. There's nice places where you can go in and poke around and have a nice little piece of nature right in town, so it's very nice for me."
Dink Lumley was biking on the trail to get ready for a race in Utah.
"I probably put in about 600 miles out here this year," Lumley said.
Lumley said anyone looking to bike on the trails should know their limitations, however, as they have varying levels of difficulty.
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